March 07, 2009

Anger as BNP leaves calling card at Bristol library Bhangra exhibition

Bristol City Council and the Asian Arts Agency have condemned racially-motivated attacks on an exhibition in the city celebrating 50 years of Bhangra music, culture & style in the UK.

Some of the exhibition materials from 'Soho Road to the Punjab', including a turban, decorative materials and jewellery were taken from a Bhangra dancer figure in the foyer and a BNP card was left behind. The incident was reported to police as theft and a possible racial crime.

Racist comments were also discovered after the incident in the exhibition feedback notebook in Central Library off College Green.

The Soho Road exhibition, which opened on January 19, is one of three exhibitions taking place at Central Library and the Watershed as part of The Bhangra Project, an arts and cultural venture developed by the Asian Arts Agency to celebrate and explore bhangra culture in the UK.

Councillor Gary Hopkins, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Community Safety, said: "I am very disturbed and saddened that a very positive exhibition celebrating the contribution of Asian arts to the UK should be targeted in this way. We take these attacks, which are totally unacceptable, very seriously and they are now in the hands of the police. The massive success of the film 'Slumdog Millionaire' here, and worldwide, shows that culture crosses boundaries and brings people together. I am sure that those responsible for the incidents at the library are very much a small minority and their actions are repugnant to the vast majority of the public."

The exhibition charts Bhangra's movement from Birmingham, where Punjabi nostalgia first fused with Caribbean beats and dance floor styles, throughout the UK and eventually back to the Punjab in India - the original source.

The free exhibitions continues at the Central Library and the Watershed until March 20.


No comments: